Tag Archives: Kym Vercoe

The Angelica Complex

16 Nov

Early in this production the character says words to the effect: “As a woman, you can be either strong or vulnerable. You can’t be both.”

And then we’re gifted a performance that is both strong and vulnerable: strong in that Kym Vercoe is an extraordinary actor whose vocal and physical work is of the highest quality; vulnerable in that we’re given a heartbreaking insight into the challenges facing a woman who has newly become a mother.


Kym Vercoe, photo by Phil Erbacher


Part of Invisible Circus, a festival of work by female theatre practitioners currently at KXT, Sunny Grace’s The Angelica Complex is one of the voices we need if our theatrical culture can claim to be truly diverse. (Though the fact I can use the word ‘diverse’ to label a work that explores such fundamentals of human existence as birth and breastfeeding suggests we might have a way to go. I blame society, not myself; in polite company, that’s always best.)

This is a powerful tale presented with both humour and pathos. Director Priscilla Jackman uses the traverse stage to full effect. Sometimes it’s a theatrical space for an individual woman’s intimate sharing of her joys and desperate challenges. At other times it becomes a symbol of a social space offering no escape from the gaze that sees only the role and never the person. Lucia May’s live video feed effectively captures the tension of a particular woman put on the spot, while Naomi Livingston’s vocals beautifully evoke the forces that tug at the boundaries of individuality.

Paul Gilchrist


The Angelica Complex

Priscilla Jackman (Co-creator & director)
Sunny Grace (Co-creator & writer)

Kings Cross Theatre

Saturday 12th November, Tuesday 15th November,Friday 18th November, Thursday 24th November and Sunday 27th November

As part of Invisible Circus. Full program and tix here

Seven Kilometres North-East

11 Mar

What is the purpose of Art? To remind the miserable that there is happiness, and the happy that there is misery.

Kym Vercoe’s self devised piece does just that. There are moments that are charming and beautiful, and others that are confronting and disconcerting.

Vercoe narrates her multiple trips to Bosnia, and her growing understanding of the region’s very troubled history. Her stage presence is confident, strong, yet vulnerable – a mix that powerfully evokes the magnitude of the historical events and offers a truly human response.

Seven Kilometres North East is a deeply moving and thought provoking piece.

Photo by Heidrun Lohr

Photo by Heidrun Lohr


One of the most unnerving moments occurs when Vercoe realizes that the men responsible for the most shocking of war crimes are probably still living in the town she has repeatedly visited. An acquaintance attempts to calm her, “Don’t worry. They won’t rape or shoot you. It’s not the 90’s.”

In the 90’s,  safely in Australia, I lost friends to arguments about what was happening in the former Yugoslavia. One friend, of Serbian background, went from simply shaking her head and moaning “They’re all crazy” to an intense and painful partisanship. Another friend, defended the NATO air strikes on Belgrade with a fearsome logic: “But we’re the good guys.”

Has theatre the ability to deal with this sort of political and historical complexity? Does it need to? Vercoe’s focus is moral, and she does not offer analysis; she offers judgement. This is not a criticism, though many might think it is. In navigating the human experience empathy gets you further than explanation.

But the piece is far from simplistic. In fact, it’s provocatively self aware. Vercoe refers to thano-tourism; that is, the touring of sites of genocide and mass death. What is the perverse attraction? And we’re forced to ask, is this what Vercoe has succumbed to? After all, why does she need to tell this story? She wasn’t there at the time. Neither were any of her relatives. It’s not her story. (Unless, of course, you subscribe to the idea that we’re all brothers and sisters. As an idea it’s dreadfully unfashionable, and absolutely vital.)

Veronica Kaye


Seven Kilometres North-East by Kym Vercoe

Seymour Centre til 22 March